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Young jobseekers value high company performance, study finds

12 Aug 2020

In a survey of students and employees in Ireland, IrishJobs.ie found that young professionals value future opportunities, while more senior professionals want to realise their full potential now.

An IrishJobs.ie survey has suggested that younger professionals place value on the performance of a company when choosing their next career move, while more senior professionals are looking for leadership opportunities.

The recruitment platform surveyed more than 11,700 students and 7,300 employees in Ireland across business, health, engineering, IT and natural sciences on the topic of career priorities.

Work-life balance, flexible working conditions and competitive base salaries were cited among the most important considerations for a new job by all. But while young professionals value future earning potential and opportunities, senior professionals want to realise their full earning potential and leadership aspirations now.


In the IT industry, younger professionals identified professional development as one of the most important parts of prospective work, while older professionals said they want more challenging projects.

Senior staff members also want creative and dynamic working environments, while both younger and older IT workers would prioritise competitive salaries.

For those working in engineering, younger respondents said they would be more inclined to seek opportunities that offer them access to leaders, helping them develop professionally. More senior engineers, however, said they would prefer to secure a leadership role for themselves.

Again, both junior and senior engineers said that work-life balance and competitive salaries are two of the most important aspects of a job.

Why our priorities change

IrishJobs.ie general manager Orla Moran said that the findings show how “our career priorities evolve to reflect our changing personal circumstances, opportunities, responsibilities and life experience” as we move through different stages of our careers.

“Young professionals are drawn to working for dynamic organisations selling exciting and innovative products or services, and are less preoccupied by their immediate salary, but instead are more motivated by potential future earnings and professional development,” Moran said.

“Senior professionals, according to our research, are motivated by current salaries, a competitive benefits package and opportunities for leadership. In order words, as they progress up the career ladder, they are understandably less focused by future opportunities and instead want to realise their full earning potential and leadership aspirations.”

‘Generational nuances’

Moran added that for companies to succeed, they must pay attention to the different priorities that younger and older staff may have.

“It is important that employers recognise these generational nuances to mitigate against disproportionately focusing their energies on addressing the preferences or motivations of one generation to the detriment of the other.

“In addition, the rankings from this research suggests that the novelty of fancy workspaces and novel workplace perks has most certainly worn off. While they may provide novel talking points, there are no shortcuts to developing a positive organisational culture and this starts with strong organisational values and ensuring that these values are reflected across all areas of a business.

“For employers who are looking to maintain a happy workforce, and for those who are also actively recruiting new members of the team, it is important to recognise what truly resonates with your employees and to ensure that your workplace offering is aligned to meet their needs and expectations.”

Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa Ardill joined Silicon Republic as senior careers reporter in July 2019. She has a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication. She is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos. Lisa briefly served as Careers Editor at Silicon Republic before leaving the company in June 2021.

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